Both my horses reacted differently to the water. My qh refused to cross - she didn't care about other 2 seasoned horses at all. The trainer asked me to get off, took a stick and made her move to the water with the front feet. As long as she did it he let me on her again and she crossed. With my paint though for the first couple times I just walked her in water being on ground (not in saddle) and let her drink and move and do whatever she wanted there. When I tried to ride her through on 3rd time (I ride her alone) she just walked in.
I will definitely try the tarp thing coz that sounds like a good idea. With the advance and retreat thing wouldnt that be giving into her fear by letting her back off from it? Like I can soughta see the sense behind it but at the same time I think she could try and evade all together.....
Yes but I'll definitely try the tarp and LOL because of the drought there is no such thing as a clear creek!!!
In situations like this, when the horse is actually frightened, you need to calm him down and wait him out.
Pick a morning or afternoon when you aren't in a hurry, when you don't have anywhere to be for awhile. Go to the scary stream or whatever, point the horse at the stream, and ask him to cross. Keep his head pointed at the stream--one rein in each hand, even if it's a curb. If he spins, spin him the other way. If he wants to back, let him. But keep his head pointed where you want him to go. Talk to him softly. Ask him to go forward, wait a bit, ask him to go forward, wait a bit.
Eventually the horse will stop resisting you because he realizes you won't give up. Always make the horse give up first. What you're doing, really, is boring him into submission. Eventually he'll cross the stream if you just ask him enough and don't ask him to do anything but that.
The first time it might take an hour, but every time thereafter, it'll take a shorter amount of time, until pretty soon, he just crosses streams.
Anyone can outwait a horse--anyone who is patient enough. And when he gives in, he's calm, he isn't worked up. In this situation "move his feet" will work, but just making him stand until he does what you want will work, too--and better in my opinion.
Yeah I have been following that method with some sucess I think its just that this was a new creek and I was on someone elses property and I was a bit worried about being out in the open and getting busted.......
Why is she afraid of the water?
I highly doubt she's doing it because she was just being a brat or didn't want to go. Horses do NOT like water because they can't tell how deep it is...so she is truely afraid.
She has got to trust you, as a leader and as a friend, that she will not get hurt when crossing the stream. You must give her a reason to trust you. Horses don't think the way we do if someone forced you into a 4 foot pool just for you to realize that you are 5 foot 5 and can stand up in it. To a horse, you are forcing them to death and they will fight you and fight you.
Walk her to the stream...go to her breaking point...the point where she starts getting uneasy and frightened, but NOT pasted that. The second she gets uneasy, turn her around and walk away, then reaproach. She'll soon get closer and closer and closer.
By doing that she'll realize that you can be trusted because you won't make her frightened and realize that you care for her.
IMO I think she would go with the advance and retreat...it's worked with all the horses I've done it with...not one did it not work with
I agree with SonnyWimps. By taking her away from what she is afraid of you certainly are NOT rewarding her. Like Sonny said, horses do not think like us and when a horse is afraid they aren't thinking anyway. Horses can not learn when they are afraid. They have to be confident.
Say you are afraid of heights. You and I are on a hike in the mountains and we come to a ledge where you can look down and see all these beautiful trees. You don't want to come near the ledge so I begin to physically push you. Telling you, "It's ok, you're fine! Come on! Just go!" How would you feel? Probably panicked and you would try to get away. Would you ever want to go on a hike with me again? Maybe not. Would you trust me? Probably not.
It's no different with a horse. How in the world can the horse trust you when you push him toward the scary thing? Like Sonny said, if you recognize her fear and take her away she will start to see that you do care for her emotions and you aren't going to force her. This will build her confidence in you and she will in turn offer you more because she is confident.
Ok I get the picture although LOL it would be fear of deep water with me as opposed to fear of heights. If I can't see the bottom I freak out, like if I'm swimming in the ocean.
I will probably ride her to the creek this weekend so stay tuned.
Another thing I have tried is to gently pony a horse across. When my mare wouldn't cross water, we took one of my daughters mares (Belle) and first let Belle cross and try to urge Mercedes (my mare) across. Then Belle would circle around and we would pony Mercedes across. This works well if you have horses that trust each other and/or have confidence in themselves. It took a few times of doing this but she finally crosses water. Also, forget about puddles etc. They don't understand why they should cross when they can walk around. Lol!